Because I’ve missed a couple of days, let’s catch up. One hundred thirty years ago on Saturday, ice crushed the wooden hull of the USS Jeannette, which had been icebound in the Arctic Ocean for going on two years. (Two years!) The ship’s doctor was a former Confederate cavalryman from Fauquier County named James M. Ambler. What happened to Ambler and his shipmates … well, just read the entry.
One hundred forty-seven years ago Sunday, Union general David Hunter — the scourge of Lexington — burned VMI, former governor John Letcher‘s house, and parts of Washington College. The town survived and now boasts several places with awesome cheesefries, plus an Appleby’s where you can geek out on March Madness.
Anyway, continuing our march back in time, 225 years ago today, Winfield Scott was born at Laurel Hill in Dinwiddie County, Virginia. In a previous “This Day” posting (Dry Tortugas Edition), I suggested that not all Virginians chose state over country in 1861. There was George H. Thomas, for instance, who became one of the Union’s top generals by the end of the war. John Newton, who did not. And Philip St. George Cooke, whose birthday, it should be mentioned, is also today. But for some odd reason, I neglected to call your attention to Winfield Scott, “Old Fuss and Feathers,” perhaps the greatest war hero since George Washington and certainly the most respected soldier in all of America. He was Schwartzkopf and Petraeus all rolled into one — plus 200 hundred pounds and then airlifted onto a horse.
Pretty amazing, in other words.
IMAGE: For reasons that, at first glance anyway, are unexplained, Scott is a patriot in the eyes of the Tea Party. Good to know.